Cardinal attacks US over Lockerbie bomber reaction

The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has attacked the US over the release of the Lockerbie bomber.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien said the Scottish government was right to free Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi last year on compassionate grounds.

Source: bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-10905562

rossum

Considering all the media-hype over this tragic event and the fact that 190 Americans out of a total of 243 passengers and 11 crew members who died in this devastating incident in Pan Am Flight 103; its not difficult to understand why the U.S. government wouldn’t scrutinize the release of the Lockerbie bomber despite his cancer. I guess I’m surprised how the U.S. was never able to extradite this prisoner, unless no extradition treaty exist between Scotland and the United States.

The article suggest the prisoner was released on compassionate grounds with 3 months to live. Apparently this is what Scotland’s Cardinal Keith O’Brien was angered about seeing the U.S. governments scrutinizing response.to Scotland’s justice system given the gravity of incident in question and the amount of American deaths involved.

It is sad to see that after a C.I.A. investigation, an Islamic Revolution group claimed responsibility for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 in retaliation for the mistaken U.S. Navy shoot-down of Iran Air Flight 655 in the Persian Gulf the previous year in July.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103

If only the cardinal would but as much effort into defending the universal Church as he does defending a national government at the expense of the Catholic Church in the US.

The good Cardinal was right in pointing out America’s hypocrisy… How can they criticise our judicial system when they don’t even have a right to trial? Something we in Britain have had since 1215 – how can they criticise us when they have barbaric and torturous punitative systems equatible to only the worst Middle Eastern countries - I am glad the Cardinal is standing up for the compassion of the Church which all civilised countries have embraced.

It is not his place to attack the nation of other Catholics causing a divide of the Church along national lines, it is his job to defend the Church in Scotland, he is not the Cardinal to the USA and in doing what he has done he has usurped that Cardinals authority.

It is his right to comment on the pressing issues of the day - if a few attention-seeking American lawmakers are slandering our country’s judicial system internationally, attempting to force our elected officials to kow-tow to some trumped-up Washington committee, while being moral hypocrites with regard to their own country’s system, Cardinal O’Brien has every right to put them in their place. For those of you who say Cardinal O’Brien should devote more time to other issues, it is worth reminding people that despite Scotland’s small size relative to England, Cardinal O’Brien features more often in the national press defending the rights of the unborn than any other British Bishop.

Kenny MacAskill acted on the best medical information available to him, acting out of compassion, instead of cruel vengeance. Only a few days ago, leading oncologist Karol Sikora repeated to the Scottish press that it was medically impossible for Megrahi to have faked Prostate cancer. We also know that it is medically impossible to predict the death of a cancer patient to the exact day. My grandfather, for example, who suffered from the same illness, was given six months to live on several occasions, but managed to last eighteen.

I would also suggest that our friends across the water do a little research into what Jim Swire has been saying. Mr Swire, who lost his daughter at Lockerbie, was one of the foremost advocates of Megrahi’s release, and is among the growing number of people who believe Megrahi may not have been the real Lockerbie bomber.

So Cardinal O’Brien works for the Scottish government does he?

Its easy for the Cardinal to score a few politcal points by playing on the anti-American sentiment in Scotland, but he does so at the expense of the Church in the US.

The only person who gains from the Cardinals comments is the Cardinal himself at the expense of the Church in the US.

Such politicking is a very sad thing to see in a Cardinal as far as I am concerned and he owes the US Cardinals an apology.

There were a couple of reasons for no extradition/no trial in the US. In the US he would have been subject to the death penalty. (ie. it could have been a punishment for his crimes). Most extradition treaties between European nations and the US have outs, if the person will be subject to the death penalty, no extradition. And although the Americans tried to get a trial in the US, the physical evidence was all in Scotland and other judicial factors favored having the trial in Scotland.

The only person who gains from the Cardinals comments is the Cardinal himself at the expense of the Church in the US.

Such politicking is a very sad thing to see in a Cardinal as far as I am concerned and he owes the US Cardinals an apology.

I’m not sure how one could see the Cardinal in Scotland scrutinizing views as being negatively set against the upper echelon of the Catholic Clergy in the U.S.

If anything the Cardinal in Scotland scrutiny was directly aimed at secular U.S. justice system because obviously as another poster already stated the Lockerbie bomber if brought before the US Supreme Court would have in any likely event faced the automatic death penalty for his murderous crime.

I don’t see how the Cardinal of Scotland’s views could be in any shape or form set negatively against the U.S. either. The Death Penalty is a very heated debate in almost every countries justice system. People are free to support or be against the Death Penalty no matter what country adopts it in their secular justice system.

What evidence do you have that the Cardinal doesn’t defend the universal church?

There wasn’t ONE WORD in that article that mentioned or alluded to the Catholic Church in the United States. So, how is he defending his government at the expense of American Catholics?

The Cardinal is a Scot, not an American and owes no fealty to Washington. The Scottish government believes it made the correct decision, the Cardinal agrees with them.

It is their country. We don’t have the right to tell them what to do.

I am sorry, but what do you know of the good Cardinal in reality? Are you aware that he is in the frontlines fighting the British government over the rights of the unborn? He has always been there defending Holy Mother Church and her place in society.

In fact, the good Cardinal here, being not only a Catholic but a clergyman, has a duty to speak out on political issues that do not directly touch on morality. The Church must not be sidelined from the affairs of the state.

And the good Cardinal was rightly angered by the attitude of those in the US. Since when did America have the right to call foreign politicians to “answer” the American government at a hearing half way around the world?

Did you read the article?

Assuming it to be true, the Cardinal had NO right to say what he did. Lets quote some of the things he says:

He said Scotland had a culture of care, while the US was fixed on vengeance.

In an interview with BBC Scotland, Cardinal O’Brien said Americans were too focused on retribution.

“In many states - more than half - they kill the perpetrators of horrible crimes, by lethal injection or even firing squad - I say that is a culture of vengeance,” he said.

“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth - that is not our culture in Scotland and I would like to think that the US government, and these states that do still have capital punishment, would learn something from us.”

He said the use of the death penalty meant the US kept “invidious company” with countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“In some states it’s month by month now that they are killing people who have a right to live, whatever they’ve done wrong,” he said.

To characterize an entire nation as vengeful based on the actions of a few is bigotry pure and simple and is sinful. I expect better from a Cardinal.

To state that Capital punishment is vengeful, when the Church teaches it can be moral, borders on heresy as he misrepresents the teachings of the Church on capital punishment.

Now I am not defending every case of capital punishment. Personally speaking I am a little ambivalent on the issue but to make broad sweeping generalizations is stupid and he should know better.

Finally, as for jurisdiction reasons, since this terrorist committed crimes against multiple countries, Scotland is not the world’s police force and by permitting him to return to Libya and thereby relinquish control, the US has compelling rights to extradite him to the USA.

I am puzzled by the disinformation going on about the release of the bomber.

Two weeks ago, it was revealed that the US government pushed to have the bomber transferred to a medical facility in Libya, rather than to a jail there.
telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/scotland/7909248/US-preferred-compassionate-release-of-Lockerbie-bomber-says-Alex-Salmond.html

Yet, at the same time, the US government is complaining about the release.

It’s hard for me to figure out where the US stands, and to what degree Cardinal O’Brien’s critique is valid. If the US truly opposed any release, up to the last minute, then the cardinal is correct. However, if the US truly advocated for a transfer to a medical facility, rather than prison, then maybe the cardinal is on less firm ground.

No right to express an opinion?

To characterize an entire nation as vengeful based on the actions of a few is bigotry pure and simple and is sinful.

Have you not read posts on this Forum ascribing evil to all Islam and Muslims based on the actions of the terrorist Islamists? Not bigotry, too?

To state that Capital punishment is vengeful, when the Church teaches it can be moral, borders on heresy as he misrepresents the teachings of the Church on capital punishment.

There’s no contradiction between it being vengeful and its being moral. Read the definitions of both terms.

Finally, as for jurisdiction reasons, since this terrorist committed crimes against multiple countries, Scotland is not the world’s police force and by permitting him to return to Libya and thereby relinquish control, the US has compelling rights to extradite him to the USA.

And, as the trial was held under Scottish law, and the man was sentenced under Scottish law, Scotland is not bound to extradite him to the U.S. no matter how loudly Washington squawks or how much of a right it thinks it has.

For those of you who’re interested, Cardinal O’Brien’s piece from today can be found in full on the Scotland on Sunday website.

scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/news/Cardinal-Keith-O39-Brien-We.6463042.jp

This post manages the great trick of defeating it’s own proposition within one sentence.

No right to make broad sweeping generalizations of an entire country.

So to correct that problem, we correct it by spreading it to other groups and countries? Hardly a constructive solution.

Vengeful is sinful for us. Moral isn’t sinful.

If you do the crime, you have to do the time. Like I said Scotland isn’t the world’s police force.

Nor is America the world’s police force and nor does it have the right to dictate to Scotland or other sovereign states as to how they conduct themselves internally.

Agreed. But in this case, Scotland was, by sending the terrorist back to Libya, relinquishing any internal rights it had of him. If Scotland had no intention of releasing him to Libya and the US demanded the right to extradite him, then that would be different.

I personally did not agree with the decision to release the Lockerbie bomber Megrahi. I do, however, agree that the Cardinal has a right to speak his mind as you or I have. I also agree with him that your senate has no right to order the Scottish politicians involved, to go over and explain their actions. They should be explaining them to our new government not yours!

I would like to point out that Scottish people who were not even on that plane died when it crashed at Lockerbie; and that other countries including Saudi Arabia also wanted this man.

Cardinal O’Brien is well known over here for speaking his mind on various topics. He has always supported church teaching on controversial issues like abortion, gay marriage, and euthanasia. Why should he appologise to your U.S. cardinals and the Church in America? As far as I am aware he did not insult any of them!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.